The Richmond Register

Sports

October 24, 2012

OVC FOOTBALL: As a senior, EKU’s Pryor doing more damage with his arm than with his legs

RICHMOND — For most of his college career, T.J. Pryor has been considered a dual-threat quarterback with the ability to hurt opposing team’s defenses through the air and on the ground.

But, that perception is starting to change.

In his senior season, the EKU quarterback has become much more comfortable in the pocket and doesn’t look to scramble as much as he did in previous years.

“I feel like it has a lot to do with my offensive line,” Pryor said of staying in the pocket. “They are giving me the right protection and time. If it wasn’t for them giving me that time and the receivers catching the balls, then we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it.”

As sophomore, Pryor led the Colonels in rushing yards (505), but this season the Louisville native has relied much more on his arm than his legs.

Pryor is on pace to set new single-season bests for passing touchdowns, completion percentage and yards a game.

He’s also on pace to set new single-season career lows for rushing yards (nine yards) and interceptions.

Despite missing the season opener at Purdue, the senior has 14 touchdown passes and just two interceptions on the season. His quarterback efficiency rating of 174.38 is the best in the Ohio Valley Conference and ranks third-best among all Football Championship Subdivision Players in the country.

“I think it’s more just me being comfortable in the pocket,” Pryor said of his success this season. “We are all just clicking.”

Pryor’s new-found comfort zone in the Colonels’ run-oriented offense has allowed him to become a better passer.

The senior’s development and maturity has certainly impressed the EKU coaching staff.

“A couple of times on Saturday (against Tennessee Tech), he knew exactly where he was going to go, then he took the snap and looked off  another receiver, even though he had no intention of throwing it there,” EKU coach Dean Hood said. “That’s the first time I’ve seen him do that.”

Earlier this season, Pryor set school career records in three major passing categories — passing yards (6,843 yards), passing touchdowns (50) and completions (504).

Last Saturday, he led a comeback that helped the Colonels get back into first place.

The senior completed all seven of his pass attempts in the fourth quarter for 112 yards and two touchdowns as the Colonels rallied for a 42-28 win. Pryor was 23-of-31 for 296 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions.

On Sunday, Pryor was named the OVC Offensive Player of the Week.

“It felt perfect,” Pryor said of the comeback. “We are struggling a little bit early in the game, but the defense kept playing well and giving us opportunities to score. We just kept plugging and finally it opened up for us.”

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